Magazine article The Spectator

Grassroots Taken for Granted

Magazine article The Spectator

Grassroots Taken for Granted

Article excerpt

From Beryl M. Goldsmith, OBE Sir: Charles Moore, perceptive as ever, is right (The Spectator's Notes, 25 March).

The Conservative party in recent years has been far too casual with its traditional power base: local associations with enthusiastic volunteers raising funds on the old 'quota' system.

Today the party hierarchy appears determined to reject proven experience. Power is now held by the centre and there is serious dissent over new rules governing candidates' lists. Winnable and 'safe' seats will be permitted only to select candidates on the socalled 'A' list compiled exclusively by the centre. Local associations will thus be limited in their influence on and choice of candidate.

But now that funding is a serious problem, the party will have to depend more than ever on strengthening its local base, and Mr Cameron cannot have it both ways.

If he reduces volunteer supporters to the role of acquiescent employees who receive their directives from Central Office, he will lose their confidence and their cash. …

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